COG finds the pond to be wet.

To: 'COG List' <>
Subject: COG finds the pond to be wet.
From: Wayne Gregson <>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2016 23:18:27 +0000
at the end of August/early September I drove to Warwick and back generally via New England.  The usual small and larger wetlands along the way were almost entirely empty of birds.  Mother of Ducks lagoon at Guyra had a few coots, moorhens and swans.  A large, essentially permanent natural lake on the outskirts of Warwick was much the same – it is normally good for quite a few species of ducks, grebes and larger waders.  It was the same story around Yamba and Grafton.  So I assume the water birds were all inland somewhere??
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2016 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: [canberrabirds] COG finds the pond to be wet.
Would also agree, urban wetlands here in Canberra are an important drought refuge for many local waterbirds and migratory ones.  I was reminded of this when I filmed a Latham's' Snipe in an underpass in Forde last summer (see 
I note that the water flowing into Yerrabi pond from the surrounding areas is still running clear - the reed filled drains and smaller ponds, often great crake/snipe etc. habitat, installed in its catchment seem to be doing their job, in spite of all the recent rain.
On Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 7:01 PM, Tony Lawson <> wrote:
Many years ago we used to regularly survey Lake Burley Griffin birdlife.  It was obvious that numbers were significantly greater in times of drought.
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 5:36 PM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] COG finds the pond to be wet.
I'd certainly go along with both of Con's theories. 
To get a first thought as to whether they applied to other water in SE Australia I have looked at the only recent eBird checklist for Mallacoota recycled water plant.  On my visits there over the 2 years there has generally been several hundred water fowl.  However on the most recent visit to the site, the observers reported very few birds with little diversity. 
On 21 September 2016 at 16:16, Con Boekel <> wrote:

Martin's comment on our depauperate aquifauna reminds me of the view that I had previously sort of half-formed - that the ACT's managed waterbodies are significant as drought refuges. With extensive flooding elsewhere, the complementary may also be the case - our waterfowl disappear to take advantage of newly-inundated (and presumably highly productive) aquatic environments.




On 9/21/2016 1:00 PM, Martin Butterfield wrote:
I have added the following to the trips page on the COG website.  The editors of Gang-gang may wish to use it for the official record.

7, possibly deranged, members met at the appointed time and place in light rain. One of the early arrivals noted that she had mainly come to see if the walk was, as promised, going ahead regardless of the weather!
The first notable sight was a large (conservatively estimated at 100 birds) flock of Tree Martins hawking over the pond and surrounding lawns.  A few (~15) Welcome Swallows were mixed in with them.
As we started our circuit 2 Mallard hybrids were noted (and three more seen later).  2 Black Swans were on or next to a nest on an island.  This was our only breeding record for the day. Other waterfowl were very sparse as seems to be the case for most local water bodies at present.
The highlight of the outing was 5 Latham's Snipe flying out of the tussocks at the Northern end of the pond, flying to a small island in the middle of the pond.
In total we recorded 33 good species plus the hybrid.  A <a href="" href="" target="_blank">">full list</a> can be found on eBird.
The heavy rain only stared when we got nearly to the cars.  While one observer's notebook started to dissolve, the sign on sheet remained intact.  The waterproof cover on my phone showed its worth, allowing me to use the app throughout.
I have added to the COG website advice that the October WW on 19 October will be to Mulligans Flat.    NOTE that, to save distance, we will be meeting at the end of Eric Wright St and not the formal carpark. 

The editors of Gang-gang may wish to include that as a forthcoming walk.

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